Comforting sucks


Sleep deprivation Is something most parents are far too familiar with.

Here is my confession. I often feed W to sleep.

She falls asleep on the breast. Sometimes we co-sleep. Shock horror!

This goes against most of the advice to mothers but I feel it is the natural way humans have survived for centuries.

I also take great care to ensure W is not under the covers and we are in a safe position.

It makes life so much easier I wish I had done it from the start.

Sucking is also a natural way to sooth babies. It was why dummies were invented.

This is why I feel annoyed whenever someone says, “she’s using you as a dummy.” No, she’s using me as a breast.

When babies are bottle fed the official NHS guidelines state a cup should be introduced at six months and bottles phased out completely once they are a year old.

Talking to one of my mummy friends, we agreed this was a pretty mean idea.

Her son has a bottle at bedtime. This sends him to sleep within minutes.

It is no surprise really as he is relaxed and soothed by the whole process.

When I shared the no bottle after one policy with the mother of a teenager, I was amused by her response.

“But they make formula for older babies, how are they supposed to drink that?” She said.

She was quite stunned my my response.

Follow on and toddler milk are marketing ploys to get around formula advertising bans.

These milks are not needed.

Image by Mark and Allegra Jaroski-Biava licenced by Creative Commons on Flickr.


Catholic priest’s pro-breastfeeding sermon


On special occasions I join my husband and W at church.

I used to go nearly every week when W needed regular breast feeds but now she can go a while without mum it is down to daddy.

It was Christmas Day and Father Ray Blake at St Mary Magdalen in Brighton, made me smile.

Fr Ray is quite a traditionalist and at the conservative end of the Catholic Church. He is often criticised for some of his views but in the years I’ve got to know him a little I would say he is a kind and humorous man.

In his sermon he came out as pro breastfeeding.

First of all he criticised Claridges for wrapping a mother in a “ridiculous table cloth”, or words to that effect.

My heart was leaping with joy, particularly as W was snacking on mummy at the time.

He pointed out how before Victorian “prudishness” there were many images of the Virgin Mary suckling Jesus with her bare breast (I picked a Da Vinci one to illustrate).

In reality I feel breastfeeding has been considered shameful since the 50s when formulas were aggressively marketed.

My mother really questioned my choice to breastfeed and seemed to constantly ask when W would have a bottle.

Hers and my grandmother’s generation seem to be obsessed with artificial feeding.

No wonder breastfeeding rates are so low when so many women feel pressured by the older generation to be “normal”.

Update: it seems the Pope is back voicing his pro-breastfeeding message to young mums.

Big boob by Sports Direct

Brighton mums feeding protest in Sports Direct

Brighton mums feeding protest in Sports Direct

It is a story that won’t die for Sports Direct. Today (May 7) the morning after the flash mob in Brighton there is a fresh wave of press highlighting the company’s action and inaction.

The Argus, Brighton’s daily newspaper and my employer, includes a comment from Sports Direct’s PR department saying it is not commenting.

Saying nothing just makes matters worse for the company. If at the time of the Nottingham incident Sports Direct apologised to Wioletta Kumar, there would be no flash mobs, no protests.

What should the company say?

“Sports Direct apologise for the incident when a member of staff asked a mother to stop breastfeeding her child and leave the Nottingham store.

“Food and drink is not permitted in our stores but we appreciate a baby’s needs and comply with the Equalities Act.

“Staff are being informed the company supports our breastfeeding customers needs.”

Why is the company refusing to comment? It is just making matters worse and alienating future customers.

In a few years some of these babies will want and/or need sports equipment. Somehow I don’t think breastfeeding protesters will buy from Sports Direct.

For your viewing pleasure, I feature in LatestTV’s video report and vox pop.

On the boob in Brighton

Today I joined a bunch of mummies for a nurse-in at the Brighton branch of Sports Direct.

It was great to join together to feed our babies but really unfortunate it had to happen.

Why were we protesting? Because Sports Direct has failed to apologise or even comment after staff at its Nottingham store told Wioletta Komar to leave while she was breastfeeding her three-month-old son.

Some people may argue she should have fed him before going out, she should have given a bottle of expressed milk or fomula. But why?

For starters young babies don’t feed to a timetable. It wouldn’t have mattered if I’d breastfed my daughter before we went out or not, if she wanted to eat she’d demand it. That’s how demand feeding works.

Breast milk is digested quickly so babies feed approximately every two hours. You feed, you get into town and before you know it a small person wants more.

Expressing is not easy. Many times I’ve spent 20 minutes pumping for little more than a dribble. What makes matters worse is my daughter took four expressed bottles when I needed to pop out without her before refusing.

Watching that hard won breast milk go down the sink felt like seeing my liver going down the drain.

As for formula, why pay when I produce free food my child wants to eat?

 Years ago mothers fed their children in public all the time. It was the norm and should continue to be considered normal. What went wrong? Page three and the supposed ease of formula. Bottles became the way babies were fed and nipples were sniggered at during tea break.

 I’m a mammal, this is how my child feeds before six months. She continues to feed on mother’s milk until she’s ready to stop.